The number of metropolitan areas on the
list of improving housing markets increased to 103 in September, an increase of
four from the August tally and the largest number in the one year history of
the list. A total of 33 states and the
District of Columbia are represented on the list published by the National
Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) and First American Title Insurance Company.
To be included on the list, a
metropolitan area must have shown six consecutive months of improvement from
its recession trough in each of three categories, housing permits as referenced
by the U.S. Census Department, employment according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, and home prices from Freddie Mac data.
Only seven MSAs fell off the list in
September compared to nine in July and 12 in August. Eleven new housing markets including
geographically diverse locations such as Santa Cruz, California; Pocatello,
Idaho; and Savannah, Georgia, and 92 MSA maintained their positions on the list.
Barry Rutenberg, chairman of NAHB noted
the stability of the September list, saying, "This is an encouraging sign that
the housing recovery is proceeding at a steady pace as firming prices and
employment help spur new building activity, which in turn generates new jobs
and more home sales."
"The fact that most markets are maintaining their spots on the improving
list from month to month is an important indication that the recovery trend is
solidifying," agreed NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "At the same time,
overly tight credit conditions are certainly constraining consumers' ability to
purchase homes as well as builders' ability to construct them."
"The expansion of the improving markets list to more than 100 metros marks
an important milestone on the road to recovery," noted Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice
chairman at First American Title. "For potential buyers across the country, it
is becoming increasingly apparent that now is a good time to explore a new-home